Dawes County Attorney/Coroner Vance Haug has confirmed that 3 people were killed when a small plane crashed early Sunday evening near the Chadron Municipal Airport, but names and other details have not been released.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were both notified last evening with federal personnel arriving today to begin investigating the crash. The release of names is awaiting notification of family.
Haug says the Chadron dispatch center received multiple calls about 7:30 pm reporting a “fireball” or “explosion” outside of town in the hills north of the airport.
The Chadron Volunteer Fire Department, Dawes County Sheriff’s Office, and search and rescue personnel all responded to reports of a grassfire. The first units arriving on the scene found the wreckage of the plane with the pilot and 2 passengers deceased.
Chadron Fire Chief Branden Martens says the fire was limited to roughly 1-½ acres with Crawford responding to a mutual aid request for a rescue unit and a rural pumper.
It’s the second fatal plane crash in the northern Panhandle in 3 weeks. A Douglas, Wyo, couple was killed on Halloween when their plane went down about 5 miles north of Harrison around 2:00 PM.
The last fatal plane crash in the Chadron area occurred in July 2019 when a small private plane crashed just north of the airport, killing all 3 occupants.